Does NAKED POPCORN infringe HALF NAKED POPCORN? Good Health Natural Products, Inc. (“Good Health”) the makers of Half Naked Popcorn think so. Good Health has sued The Mediterranean Snack Food Company, LLC (“Mediterranean Snack Food”) for trademark infringement in federal court in North Carolina.
The complaint alleges that “Mediterranean recently launched a product that is directly competitive to Good Health’s HALF NAKED POPCORN brand of popcorn under a mark – NAKED POPCORN– that is a colorable imitation of, and is confusingly similar to, Good Health’s well-known HALF NAKED POPCORN trademark, as shown below.” Would you confuse one of these bags of popcorn for the other?
The complaint further alleges that “by virtue of his prior business relationship with Good Health, Vincent James, one of Mediterranean’s members, became familiar with Good Health’s product line, including its HALF NAKED POPCORN brand of popcorn.” (Of course Mr. James could have also become “familiar” with this product by buying it, opening the package, and chowing down.)
Although the names of the products are certainly similar, Good Health does not have a federal registration for “HALF NAKED” despite claiming to have sold the product since 2004. Although there are other brands with registrations for “NAKED” products, the only pending registration for a “Half Naked” product is a pending application for Half Naked Texas Hold’em filed by Las Vegas resident Sam Chinkes (which—based on my experience in Las Vegas poker rooms – hopefully has nothing to do with the players undressing…)
In reviewing the pending applications and existing registrations at the U.S. Trademark Office, most likely, Good Health chose not to file an application for the mark due to the crowded “naked” landscape. There currently exists multiple registrations for BEAR NAKED for various food items. In addition, Bear Naked, Inc. the owner of the Bear Naked marks currently has an opposition proceeding pending against an applicant who filed for the mark NAKED for various products (including popcorn) back in 2005.
In addition there are registrations for Naked Wings, Naked Scallops, Naked Burgers, Naked Shrimp, Naked Tenders, Naked Nuggets, and the ever popular Naked Jerky. All of these naked trademarks really begs the question as to whether the word “naked” is merely descriptive of plain food items without anything added.
Mediterranean Snack Food has not yet answered the complaint, but will most likely deny that its naked popcorn could possibly be confused with Good Health’s half naked variety. No matter which way this case goes, this case is ripe for a final order filled with hilarious nude puns from the judge.